"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cake of the Month: February

Well, this month turned out to be simply full of cake-making! So much so that I have a confession to make. I'm actually *gasp* a bit tired of cake. Even when it has chocolate. Shocking, I know! Don't worry, though, I'm still sticking with the project. I figure by March 19th or 20th I'll be over it and can make a cake for the Spring Equinox. There is going to be Spring, right? Anyway, on with the cakes!

BlackLion's Mom, who I call Jen-Mom, had her 60th birthday this month. We threw her a surprise party, and so we just had to make her favorite of our cakes: Banana Faerie Cake!

The party was actually on the Friday before her birthday. To make the surprise work, we had invited her over for dinner at our place on her actual birthday, and then a friend who was involved with the planning asked her out to dinner at the pub that evening. It worked! So on her actual day, we made her some lasagna, and more cake (chocolate this time). I didn't take a picture of the second one, for some reason. But it tasted good!

Towards the end of the month, a good friend of mine had her birthday. And guess what she wanted for dessert? A bunny cake!

He was a white bunny cake with vanilla frosting, and candy for the decorations. Everyone seemed to enjoy him at the party!

And finally it was time for the actual Cake of the Month for February: it's a Sweetheart Spice Cake. I made up the recipe. The flavor was delightful. The texture was a bit too dense - I think it could have risen more. I'm going to add more leavening next time. The butter-cream frosting was excellent. The cake got a good reaction from the folks at the family potluck. Here it is:

Leave me a comment if you'd like the recipe for the Sweetheart Spice Cake. I'm also looking for ideas for the March Cake of the Month. It'll be Spring, or at least close to it, so I'm thinking of cream and fruit of some sort. Not that we'll have local fruit yet, here in Maine. Well, anyway, please share your ideas! Oh, and note to self - I still need to buy a cake stand.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Bucket List

Over on A Journey of Joy, the second writing prompt has been posted. So this week I'm sharing my "bucket list." If you don't know what that is, it's a list of things you'd love to do before you die (i.e. "kick the bucket").

Some of these I've had for a while, on a list I'd tucked away and sort of forgotten about until I read this prompt. Others I've added just this week, as I pondered about the list. I looked at some other folks' lists online, and some of them were really long. I decided to keep mine to 25, which seems ambitious enough yet do-able. I notice a lot of mine have to do with travel, which I haven't done much of yet outside the U.S. and Canada. Without further ado, here's my list:

1. go sailing
2. hike the Appalachian Trail
3. write and publish several books
4. visit the British Isles
5. get my Masters degree
6. get my Doctorate degree
7. visit San Francisco
8. go on a silent meditation retreat
9. win something great
10. go to Africa
11. go on a train trip with my Mom and Aunt Peg
12. build an addition on the house using green technology
13. learn to ski well
14. get all our electricity from solar panels
15. teach a class I've designed
16. take a cooking tour of France and Italy
17. be a major donor to my favorite charities
18. be a certified yoga teacher
19. take a scrapbooking class
20. learn astral projection
21. pay for my kids to go to college (if they want to)
22. take a drumming class or lessons
23. own a bookstore and cafe
24. produce the majority of my own food and/or buy it at local farms
25. take a cruise

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Amazing Epiphanies

I've had such a fabulous week! Remember when I wrote about working on increasing my self-love? On Valentine's Day, I had a realization that has led me to a whole new level of self-love and self-acceptance.

As I wrote on the Feline Dreamers blog, the inspiration for this epiphany was a phrase from a guided meditation from the CD “Getting Into the Vortex” by Esther and Jerry Hicks. Just by hearing this phrase - “you are precisely where you have intended to be, and the Source within you is pleased” - I was launched into a new and exciting spiritual adventure.

Every day since then, I've been buoyed up by the notion that I am absolutely loved and cared for, just as I am. The sun seems brighter, the days seem full of possibilities, and I'm smiling and laughing a lot. After just one week, I've already expanded so much. BlackLion and I put in several queries to literary agents about one of our books, which is a huge step forward. I had an amazing dream that showed how much I've integrated this new lesson. And my connections (with other people, the earth, the Divine) have become more direct and tangible.

I'm so very thankful for the blossoming of this new energy. And I'm also glad I put in the work, tilling the soil and planting the seeds over the past several months. I send out my gratitude and joy to everyone, vibrating outward in waves of love. Blessed Be!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quotes from a Night of Dreaming

I keep a dream journal, and usually I either write down a dream or two in the morning, or I can't recall any well enough to capture them. However, one night last week I woke up with a couple of quotes that were part of my dreamscape in some way. Here they are:

"Vampire Book Club: you don't want to read the books these creatures suggest. Creepy not cool."


"It's like trying to crack the eggs from a rubber chicken."

I wish I knew what "it" was in the second one, but I have no idea. Let me know if you come up with any scenarios. ;) Enjoy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Following the Muse

Winter isn't my favorite season. I don't hate it - I love the beauty of all the seasons, and I do appreciate living in a climate where the changes are so dramatic. But to be honest, when it's really cold and wet and snowy, I understand the appeal of hibernation.

I used to feel guilty about wanting to stay home and relax more than usual in the depths of winter. I tried to force myself to be as active as I am in the fall, when my energy is at its peak. When I worked a full week outside the home it was even more pronounced, because in the evenings and on weekends I didn't want to do anything other than curl up with a book. Now that I work for myself, I have a much more flexible schedule. And I'm also more kind to myself, leaving plenty of room for the lulls.

My word of the year is CREATE, and so far I've been honoring my need for quiet and relaxation. Even so, I've been creating quite a bit, simply by following the muse wherever it leads. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you can probably see what I mean - lately my posts have been inspired mainly by reading other blogs, or from inspiring quotes I find.

What else have I been up to? The necessity of feeding my family means I've come up with some new recipes. I really enjoy cooking, and since I get bored making the same meals again and again, I've been having fun with creating new ones. I've been working on an e-book for Feline Dreamers, about how to develop a daily spiritual practice, which has been fun (and I realized I've been doing my daily spiritual practice for over 13 years, holy cat!). I made some Valentines for my loved ones. BlackLion and I sat down the other day and planned our vegetable garden - we ordered some asparagus, which we haven't planted before. I'm working on a new web page for my Reiki business. I joined a new book club which is just starting up, and was delighted with the book choices that everyone proposed. Our first book is Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes. I can't wait for the first group discussion!

I've also been creative in my spirituality. I've been working more closely with the moon phases, and have been utilizing those energies to release some old blockages and to encourage new inner growth. My daily journal writing practice is giving me SO many gifts of insight. My dreams have also delivered multiple treasures lately. I'm incredibly thankful that I've realized that creativity extends to each and every portion of my life. Even the naps.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Games

I guess I'm on a roll, in terms of playing along with my favorite blogs. Here's another one: over on Ordinary Life Magic, they're running a game giveaway. Go ahead over and check it out!

And in the meantime, here are some of our family's favorite games. We have 3 adults (in our 40s) and 2 kids (ages 14 and 12) in our household, just so you have a reference. Let me also preface this list by saying we probably have about one hundred games in our home. We're serious gamers here. I canvassed everyone and asked their five favorite board, dice, or card games, and below I've included all of the ones mentioned. The games at the top got the most votes, and the list goes in descending order from there. Enjoy!

The top three games in our family all tied for three votes each:

Cribbage: This classic card game has been a part of all of our families of origin (although I don't play it, myself). Dryst learned it from my parents. There's much hilarity when a multi-generational game gets cookin'.

Dread Pirate: Buccaneer's Revenge: We got this board game from a funky local toy shop. Although it took a while to get the hang of it, this is an awesome family game of strategy and adventure on the high seas. Reading skills are needed, but you can play as teams with those who need reading help.

Skip-Bo: The best way to play this game is with partners. It's a fun numbers card game, and you can use each others' discards to help play the cards on your pile. There's no cross-talk allowed, but using your ESP can help!

The next three games tied for two votes each:

Cosmic Wimpout: The ultimate hippie dice game! You accumulate points by collecting 10s, 5s, and matches, and the first one to 500 points is the winner...unless someone catches up to you in "last licks." Totally groovy.

Rummikub: This is similar to the card game Rummy, but with Scrabble-like tiles. It takes a keen eye for matches and straights, especially since you can rearrange them in a puzzle-like fashion.

Yahtzee: Another classic game, this one with dice. We love the version they have on Webkinz, and that got us back into playing with actual dice.

And the rest of these got one mention each:

Can't Stop: A fun game of statistics and probabilities. Everyone competes to capture three numbers between 2 and 12, but if you don't stop, you may lose it all.

Chess: Dryst has been playing since he was five, and he and Quester are the real chess fans in the house. I think you have to have a certain type of mind to really love chess. A serious strategy-fest.

Clue: We started with the junior version when the kids were younger, and now have the old-fashioned board. Mystery, stealth, and shrewd guessing are involved. Some reading skills are needed for this one.

Mexican Train Dominoes: I added this game, which we play fairly often at our homeschool group. I never played dominoes as a kid, and I've found that I just love this version. Fun to play while sitting around chatting.

Monopoly: You know, Monopoly! The youngest member of our homeschool group is a fanatic about this game, and we're all convinced he'll be a tycoon one day. Be sure to have several hours available, though, and lots of snacks.

Munchkin: A hilarious Dungeons & Dragons-themed card game. You're allowed to cheat, as long as you don't get caught. The rules are a bit complex, but the game will pick up speed as you get the hang of it. Players need to be able to read the cards.

Snorta!: We just got this one for Christmas. Based on memory and making animal noises, it's one of those games that has you laughing and shaking your head in confusion.

Twister: This is another one that gets the giggles going. Be sure you have someone to spin the wheel who's not actually trying to play. Yoga aficianados have an advantage.

Whoonu: Made by the Cranium folks, this is a really fun game for getting to know people and their preferences. Once you've mastered it, play it with opposites - what would be the person's least favorite thing?

Zombie Dice: Zombies are trendy, and that holds true in our homeschool group too. Subject matter aside, it's another fun dice and numbers game, and good to play with a crowd.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Pure Pleasure

I'm going to join in on the Self-Discovery Word-by-Word Blogger Series. I found out about it on Being Joy. The word for February is "pleasure."

I think pleasure is a signpost, pointing me toward my callings in life. Sometimes the call is just to be really present in the moment, like the pleasure of walking in the moonlight, or of lying in bed for a few extra minutes and savoring the dreams I just experienced. At other times, it can be more complex, like the pleasure of a challenging art project or sitting down to write an article for my e-zine. Pleasure is the feeling I get when I'm aligned with the things I love, the things that call to my soul.

What are the greatest sources of pleasure in my life? I've grouped them into three categories: my beloveds, the written word, and Mother Nature. My beloveds are my family and friends, including the ones with paws and tails. I'm blessed with a fun and loving community of people. We laugh a lot, play games, create together, and have a wonderful time. The written word, whether I'm reading or writing, is one of my all-time favorite pleasures. I don't think there's a day that goes by when I don't read and write. And Mother Nature...ahhh. The pleasure I get from the natural world ranges from taking walks and hikes to gardening to practicing magick in a sacred circle. I love to be connected with the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and Stars.

That sounds like a whole lot of pleasure! And it's true, I do enjoy my life. Yet like most people, I can also get caught up in stress and mundania, things that suck the pleasure out of daily life. Over the past few years I've been learning to let go of worrying, which is, it seems to me, the opposite of pleasure. Stress leads to a narrow view of life, one where pleasure is delayed and denigrated. It can be challenging to get out of that space and back onto the path. When I'm stuck in that worried mindset, I've learned to look for the little pleasures that help wake me back up: the softness of a cat's fur, the sun peeking through the clouds, the smile of a child. Gradually, I find my way back, looking for those brightly-painted signposts which point the way joyfully to the reasons I've chosen to be here.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

A Bio for Fun

One of the blogs I like to read is called A Journey of Joy. The author decided to share some prompts and exercises that she's using in a writing group. It sounded like a cool idea, so I'm in. The first prompt was to write and share a 100-word autobiography.

So, here's who I am as of this moment:

I am an eternal fae being now incarnate on Earth. My favorite things to do are reading and writing, and I love cats and feline energy. Love and joy are my intentions. I’m learning to love myself more and to honor my deepest desires. I help build spiritual community and create tools for people who want to follow their passions. I am an artist, a dreamer, a playful faerie cat sharing my unique self with the multiverse. My power comes from a deep connection with the Earth, the Moon, and the Stars, for I am a priestess of the Goddess.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Our Imbolc

Blessings of Imbolc to you! It's time for the initial stirrings of the Spring to come, although for us they're hidden under a deep layer of snow. The picture is from two years ago, though we have that much if not more snow on the ground right now, with more to come (note to self - take some pictures tomorrow!).

So, aside from some snow removal, we're spending our Imbolc in our cozy house. This is normally the day for our homeschool group gathering. It's snowed the past several Wednesdays, and we've made our way there anyway, in the trusty Subaru. This time, though, we opted to stay in. We'll celebrate Imbolc as a family. I've got a pot of white bean and rosemary soup on the stove, and I'll be making some biscuits to go with it. We're going to play a game we got for Yule that we haven't tried yet, "Grateful Dead-opoly," and light a bunch of candles. We won't have a formal ceremony, but just relax and chat about our hopes and dreams and gratitude.

This holiday is also known as Brigid's Day. I've been doing some writing today, and we also recorded our weekly PawedCats Podcast, with a segment about the faerie realm in winter. I had some really creative dreams last night, too, and I'm feeling the energy of the new moon being born. Dark of the moon is hard for me sometimes, but the confusion and frustration I was feeling yesterday has shifted to inspiration and a peaceful joy. I'm looking forward to Red Temple tomorrow evening - we'll be learning more about the Muses.

Many blessings to you on this lovely wintry Imbolc day!